First-time buyer? Check out ONE Mortgage

Lowell non-profit breaks ground on affordable homes named after local leader

Posted on April 12, 2022

ACTON --- The value of local support was front row center earlier this spring as state and local leaders came out to celebrate the groundbreaking of Tavernier Place.

Named after longtime resident and affordable housing supporter Nancy Tavernier, the new housing will feature 31 affordable one-bedroom apartments for seniors.

"It's so hard in suburban communities for people to stand up for those who are less fortunate and you have done that for decades," said Acton native and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge at groundbreaking ceremonies on March 25. "It's such an honor to work with you on these projects and call you a friend. Thank you Nancy for being such a champion."

Video: Sen. Jamie Eldridge thanks Acton's Nancy Tavernier

Tavernier Place is being developed by Common Ground Development Corp. (CGDC), the development subsidiary of Community Teamwork Inc. (CTI), a Lowell-based social service nonprofit. The $15 million development is being financed primarily with federal low-income housing tax credits and other state funds awarded through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). 

Additional financing included Eastern Bank (construction loan), the state's Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. and the town, which put in $550,000 through the Acton Community Housing Corporation (ACHC), which is responsible for supporting affordable housing in town for working families and people with modest incomes.

MHP is supporting Tavernier Place with a $2.35 million long-term loan commitment from its bank-funded loan pool, but its connection to Acton dates back more than 20 years, when its Community Assistance team started supporting town and housing authority efforts to add more affordable housing. 

Often times, MHP housing experts like Rita Farrell (now retired) would work with Tavernier and one time both spoke at Town Meeting and helped convince voters to vote for redeveloping the old high school rather than tear it down. 

The result was Towne School Apartments, which was redeveloped by Common Ground into 15 affordable apartments for families in 2012. Tavernier Place is being built across the street and the ground breaking was held in the Towne School parking lot.

Tavernier dedicated herself to supporting affordable housing in Acton for over 30 years both as a selectman, and as board member and chair of the ACHC. In 2013, MHP honored Tavernier with one of its annual Housing Hero awards."Without your tenacity and leadership, none of the town's accomplishments on affordable housing would've been possible," said Clark Ziegler, MHP's executive director.

Video: MHP's Clark Ziegler salutes Common Ground, Town of Acton  

Other speakers at the groundbreaking included state Rep. Danillo Sena, Select Board Chair David Martin, CTI Chief Program Officer Carl Howell, and Janet Adachi, chair of Acton Community Housing Corp. CGDC Director of Real Estate Steven Joncas was master of ceremonies.

Tavernier was the final speaker, wrapping things up with a mixture of recollections, thanks and a reminder that there's still work to be done. "This week alone, there are 20 single-family homes for sale in Acton and 10 of them are listed for well over a million dollars," she said. "That's Acton. No wonder our children move away. We need more housing."

About MHP: MHP offers a variety of capital sources to provide permanent financing for affordable housing, including bank funds and programs offered by Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Since 1990, MHP has provided over $1.4 billion for the financing of over 26,000 apartments and has helped over 23,000 low- and moderate-income households buy their first home through the SoftSecond and ONE Mortgage programs. MHP has provided support and technical assistance to over 300 communities. In 2017, MHP created the Center for Housing Data to support to promote policies to allow more housing in response to demand. 

Related news